Thursday, August 1, 2013


 I read this and it got me thinking about my situation, my horse, my riding.  Not that I'm not already obsessed about all of that junk and over think it anyway, but the timing was right for me to really think about it.  I mean, stay up ALL NIGHT thinking about it.  I want to have the kind of experience Mugs talks about with everyone and their horses.  I want to say yes when someone asks if Tessa and I want to come along and do something.  I don't always want to be the weakest link.

I have been looking at horses for sale.  I have been putting in criteria to try to find THE PERFECT HORSE.  A gelding who is older than seven but younger than seventeen.  Taller than 15 hands but shorter than 16.2 hands.  Temperament should be a three or below and price needs to be under $10,000.  Way under, preferably.  I'd like a horse that I can do everything with.  I'd like to take a trail ride, pop over a jump, ride a lower level dressage test, ride in a Western/English show including showmanship and trail, ride bareback, dress up in silly costumes.  I have seen a few horses that I think might fit this bill and they were even in my price range.  Which has led me to point number two.

So I buy the perfect horse.  He's now sitting in his stall at my barn.  And guess what?  I still can't do most of the things on my list.  Why?  Because my barn is an eventing/dressage barn.  There is no Western.  There is no trail.  There isn't even an outdoor arena!  I would have the same option I have right now which is to take weekly lessons in dressage and/or jumping and to ride in the indoor arena.  Hmmmmm....

So, maybe it's not the horse right?  Yeah, quit rolling your eyes and saying I told you so.  I know I'm a stubborn SOB who needs to come to things on her good time.  And my time is finally here.....  So, here are my options.

1.  Give up on my list of what I want to do and focus on what I have available and AM doing.  This would mean, continuing to take dressage and jumping lessons and enjoying the fabulous trainers and care and barn community.  It also likely means never going anywhere unless I decide to show, which is a highly expensive endeavor and not one I want to do with any regularity.

2.  Buy a truck and trailer.  Problems with this include, I would have to purchase a truck and trailer (expensive!) and maintain a truck and trailer (expensive!) and pay for somewhere to park my truck and trailer (expensive!) and learn how to drive a truck and a truck and trailer (terrifying!).  Plus, when you take your horse somewhere it becomes an all day 'thing' and I don't have 'all day' very often.  So it just might not get used as much as I would want to get out.

3.  Move the pony.  There is a barn that is closer to my house and has an indoor arena.  It is down a dead end street and five hundred feet from the park with an giant outdoor arena, round pen and trails.  As far as I know there isn't  a resident trainer, so I could ride without one or maybe find someone to meet me at the park to give me lessons.  The owner of the barn's mom is also a HUGE Buck Brannaman fan and they have attended multiple BB clinics, which I find interesting.  The owner herself used to be a hunter jumper.  Every year there is a show at this park, so I could do my Western/English/Trail show without needing a trailer.  In fact, I could do most of the things I want without a trailer.

Here's the downsides to fabulous choice number three.  Downside One is the doozy.  It's $400 more a MONTH than my current barn.  Four.  Hundred.  Dollars.  They are THE MOST expensive place in the area by hundreds of dollars.  And you don't get anything extra for those hundreds of dollars.  The care is great, but I doubt it will be on part with what I have, where my horse is part of the family and they do what needs to be done for her.  Also, this is one of those barns where they charge extra for every blanket change, hoof wrap etc.  My current barn has teenagers that they have help out with all these to keep costs low.

Downside Two is that I won't have money for regular lessons, which could be a problem since I'm still anxious around my horse.  On the other hand, maybe this my chance to JUST WORK THROUGH IT.  Buy myself a Western saddle and just toodle around for a year, learning how to be with my horse.

There are other potential downsides that I won't know about until after I go visit the barn.  The price tag makes me choke, but would it be worth it?  It would certainly answer the question of knowing if my pony and I are a good fit.  It removes our comfort zone and gives me access to everything I want.  If after the move (and a good six months to a year of trying) I'm still not able to just get out there and take a trail ride or anything, then I think it's time for me to find a horse I CAN do that with.  But it's not fair to make that judgement until I've done everything I can.

Also, if I were moving to the expensive barn I might send Tessa out for some 'trail' training for a month or two with someone else.  That way she could get some confidence out on the trails and in new situations and the new barn might be less stressful.

What do you guys think?  Crazy or crazy good decision?  


  1. That is so hard to answer.
    Here is my creative thinking:
    Go ahead and try the western saddle. See if your dressage trainer will teach you while you ride in your western tack. The basics are the same. Good position and good riding don't change with the style of saddle. Rider confidence, however, might change dramatically!

    Aside from that, I would just spend as much time in the saddle as you can! Go on short rides, go on long rides, hang out in the grass with her while she grazes... Whatever. Keep fostering that bond and that trust!

    Maybe take the occasional lesson on a tried and true schoolmaster or lesson horse that you can trust a little more!

  2. I second the motion to get lessons on another horse.

    I also think it's a good idea to have a plan like that, whatever you decide. A 'give it all you've got' plan with a definite time period at the end of which if you haven't reached certain goals, it's time to make some big changes.

    We did that with BCM last year, we put in the maximum possible effort over summer to fix her separation anxiety problems, or she was going to have to go because she wasn't the horse for us. Through expert help and lots of work we got it under control, and she stayed (yay!)

    BUT if it hadn't had worked out, with us putting in the maximum amount of effort, we would have definitely sold her to someone who was better placed to handle her. No question, much as we love her to bits.

    As for moving, is your current barn really limiting you that much? Because it sounds like you really like it!

    Also, buy a truck and trailer if possible. There's nothing like getting out and about in the world! Is there someone at your barn you could learn with?

  3. So it's not that I'm not confident in my current situation. Riding in our arena, I feel pretty darn good. My problem is that there isn't any opportunity to do anything different because we don't have access to a truck and trailer. It's so hard because I LOVE my barn, but they only have a small indoor to ride in!

  4. Is #3 the ONLY place you can move her to? It sounds like you want an all rounder horse to do open/schooling shows on, and trail ride. From what I've read from your blog, you have neither the horse nor the facility to do that right now. Best of luck :/

  5. Didn't you take Tessa on a trail ride a week or so ago? Is there a rule against non-English tack in your arena? :) It seems like you can do all of those things you want to do at your current facility. If there aren't any proper trails, are you allowed to ride around the property or in a pasture? Do they ever go school XC away from the barn?

    I hope this doesn't come off as harsh, but it kind of seems like you're looking for a way to put off making your decision.

    1. I second the XC schoolings! There's nothing that says you *absolutely must* jump at a XC schooling. It's just trail riding with stuff in the fields!

      I also second that it is incredibly liberating to have your own truck and trailer. As terrifying as it might be the first couple times, I think once you DO it, you'll get comfortable with it pretty fast. :)